Stronger Than Bullets walks us through weeks and months, leading to Gaddafi’s ultimate demise. It all began in 2011 as rebel citizens successfully took over Benghazi and ultimately toppled Ghaddafi himself. One of the strongest images in the film is of the Troubadour Masoud Buisir brandishing a rocket launcher, and a guitar just as memorable is the death of Rami El Kalah as a reminder of the price of peace.
While director Millan does not go through the entire effort it took to topple Gaddafi’s government; he masterfully weaves the events of the revolution with the musicians themselves. They hit on themes of hardships of war, and for many, the importance of coming home for many of the political refugees forced out by Gaddafi.
“…captures the creation of a new set of songs of independence and freedom…”
Hip Hop plays a dominant role in the voice of dissent, and MC Swat and Malik L’s music and videos seem even more powerful when placed under the context of the civil war. As the Libyans found freedom, they soon discover that Rami’s last song before his passing rose to 44 on Europe’s Billboard Top 100 Songs. As the aftermath of the civil war meant rebuilding their homes and infrastructure, it also opened the young people to the world around them as they took over social media and used art in all mediums to tell their stories.
In school, I heard the stories of the patriotic songs of America from Yankee Doodle to God Bless America. Matthew Millan’s Stronger Than Bullets captures the creation of a new set of songs of independence and freedom, and the bullets, beating, and rebellion are all real. Millan is not short on music and it even rivals what we’re used to hearing, even if it was made in Ikanovic’s home office.
"…Gaddafi outlawed all musical instruments and ordered them to be burned in a public display."